Report: North Carolina ranks No. 2 in nation for highway performance and cost effectiveness

North Carolina’s highway system ranks second overall in the nation in overall cost effectiveness and condition, according to the Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report. 

The state rose three spots from the previous report.

North Carolina’s top categories include its “other disbursements ratio,” which accounts for miscellaneous expenditures (No. 5); urban arterial pavement condition (No. 7); maintenance expenditures (No. 8); administrative expenditures (No. 8); and rural arterial pavement condition (No. 10). 

The state’s worst category was its miscellaneous fatality rate (No. 39) — those deaths not categorized in rural or urban areas — and in its number of structurally deficient bridges (No. 30).

North Carolina commuters spend 16.4 hours stuck in traffic congestion, ranking 11th nationally.

North Carolina’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the second largest highway system in the country, according to the report. 

“To improve in the rankings, North Carolina needs to reduce its other fatality rate and its percentage of structurally deficient bridges. Neither ranking is abysmal but they are the only categories in which the state ranks outside the top 25,” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Over the last year the state has reduced its percentage of structurally deficient bridges, leading to a three-spot improvement in the rankings.”

Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report measures the condition and cost-effectiveness of state-controlled highways in 13 categories, including pavement condition, traffic congestion, structurally deficient bridges, traffic fatalities, and spending (capital, maintenance, administrative, other) per mile.

“North Carolina has an excellent highway system. The state ranks in the top 25 in 11 of the 13 categories. North Carolina’s secret is that it is able to maintain smooth highways at a low overall cost,” the report notes. “While other large-population states struggle, North Carolina shows it is possible to be in the top-10 in population and receive a top-five ranking in the Annual Highway Report. If the state continues to reduce its percentage of structurally deficient bridges and other fatality rate, it will be a contender for the top spot.”

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